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Martin Luther King Jr. discusses the advantages and purposes for his theory of nonviolent direct action in his Letter From Birmingham City Jail. He shows four basic steps that must be taken to achieve nonviolent action. They include 1) collection of facts to determine whether injustices are alive; 2) negotiation; 3) self-purification; and 4) direct action. Each of these steps will be explained as part of King's argument later in this essay. The main purpose of a nonviolent campaign is to force any community to confront a problem rather than refuse to negotiate or face a specific issue. In the letter, King discusses his group's reasons for coming to Birmingham. He states that Birmingham is "probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States" and that much violence has taken place against Negroes there. He goes on to discuss how his attempts to negotiate with white merchants to remove racially offensive signs from store windows had failed. This caused King and many others to become discontent. There was also resentment towards white people because Negroes made up an overwhelmingly sizable part of the poor. Violence had evoked a fear in all Negroes, and resentment built up against the whites. King discusses how leaders have asked him to wait to take action, but he rejects this request by saying it is "difficult to wait". He simply refuses to sit back and watch his people being hurt and oppressed time after time. He claims that the white moderate is the group that is more devoted to discriminate blacks because they care more about order than justice. These moderates are complacent and would rather see no tension instead of the presence of justice. "Political leaders consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation". King feels that his theory is superior to those of the Muslims who advocate violence as a form of retaliation. He also looks unfavorably at the white Christian churches that have not lent a hand to help their black brothers in the Christian religion. Overall, he is trying to show how his way of nonviolent direct action is the best way to solve racial injustices against blacks. The argument of the letter is that direct action must be taken in specific ways for changes to be brought about. King says that nonviolent action can only be achieved by following four specific steps. The first step he says is to determine if there really are injustices being made towards a certain group. He shows these injustices with examples of violent acts against Negroes including police attacks, bombing of homes and churches, and lynching by mobs. He says that Negroes have been victims of discrimination in their inability to receive the benefits that their white counterparts receive. More have also been in poverty due to prejudices against them. He sees a flourishing, affluent society in which blacks are not allowed to play a role in. King knows that the Negroes are not free and in order for freedom to be gained it must "be demanded" because it "is simply not given". The second step in the process of starting a nonviolent movement is the attempt to negotiate with your oppressors. King spoke with white merchants in Birmingham and asked that racial signs be removed from store windows. These merchants promised to consent to his request, only to break their promise shortly after. With no actual change or response from white leaders, King knew that his negotiations had failed. He also felt that the best time to react to a problem is to act soon and not to wait. He said that "justice too long delayed is justice denied". He had to act as soon as possible. The third step is self-purification. He educated his fellow blacks in workshops to understand the injustices made against them. He asked them to withhold from any violence when attacked and to accept physical attacks and possibly jail. After these first three steps are realized, the fourth step of direct action must take place. The action that King led was a march in Birmingham for peace and justice. Negroes were violently assaulted by police and many, including King, were imprisoned. His argument is that these steps to direct action can result in changes. His cause took a national stage because of his march in Birmingham and white leaders were forced to confront this issue of discrimination and segregation. Blacks across the country came together to try to "channel" their discontent "through the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action". King also makes an argument against white Christian leaders. He says that his fellow brothers in the Christian religion simply turn their heads to the violence and injustice by saying that these issues are simply "social issues with which the Gospel has no concern". He argues that this is wrong and black Christians need help from these clergymen. He begs that they can meet and work out these indifferences together for the better of society. Key Terms from this article include those mentioned above. The terms of nonviolence, negotiation, self-purification were described in discussion of King's steps towards nonviolent action. The term "wait" was used frequently in the letter. King argued that waiting to take action would not be effective, but rather acting directly and quickly would bring about change. King knew that freedom would not simply be given; it had to be earned. King also used a key concept of comparing blacks and whites as having "nobodiness" versus "somebodiness". Society makes blacks to feel that they are nobody compared to whites, and King fights for blacks to realize that they are somebody and are important and so should fight for the rights and freedoms that were held from them. King also describes groups that oppress blacks, and says that more than the Ku Klux Klan and white citizens, the white moderate creates the most problems. He feels that the moderate act as if they can decide another man's human rights and freedom. These moderates see the goals that King is trying to achieve but feel that they shouldn't act to make changes. King says he would rather have absolute misunderstanding and hatred from his oppressors than understanding with no intent to make changes. He also discusses the racial slurs used against blacks and how these terms of "nigger" and "boy" add to blacks' resentment and nonviolent retaliation. Like Gandhi, King preached nonviolent resistance to oppression. I think that he was successful in his nonviolent attempts. He showed that Negroes were not the "animals" that whites used to perceive them as. By his ability to keep his community calm in stressful and hard times, he was able to show that blacks deserved to be part of the civilized and cultured society in which they lived. I think if King hadn't preached this theory, members of the Muslim community and groups like the Black Panthers would have continued to be violent against violent whites and there would never be desegregation and equality. His reasoning of peace and respect for all people was eventually incorporated into our society. By his work for a peaceful and resistant black civil rights' movement, his wishes that his children grow up in a country filled with equality and freedom were fulfilled. I also think that if King were alive today to witness the recent events at the World Trade Center, he would again preach nonviolence for the American people. He would be saddened to see our government retaliate with violence. I don't think the United States would be able to follow his four steps of nonviolence. We have achieved the first two steps of recognizing the direct injustice against us, and we have attempted to negotiate with the leaders of the Taliban. I think our country would not be able to reach the step of self-purification. As the ultimate power in the world, the U.S. would not be able to simply accept blows against our government, freedom and liberty. I think it would be hard to solve this terrorism today with nonviolence tactics only. I think this because it is an international, political, and economical issue rather than a social injustice against a minority.
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A Discussion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham City Jail
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A Discussion Of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham City Jail

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              Martin Luther King Jr. discusses the advantages and purposes for his theory of nonviolent direct action in his Letter From Birmingham City Jail. He shows four basic steps that must be taken to achieve nonviolent action. They include 1) collection of facts to determine whether injustices are alive; 2) negotiation; 3) self-purification; and 4) direct action. Each of these steps will be explained as part of King's argument later in this essay. The main purpose of a nonviolent campaign is to force any community to confront a problem rather than refuse to negotiate or face a specific issue. In the letter, King discusses his group's reasons for coming to Birmingham. He states that Birmingham is "probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States" and that much violence has taken place against Negroes there. He goes on to discuss how his attempts to negotiate with white merchants to remove racially offensive signs from store windows had failed. This caused King and many others to become discontent. There was also resentment towards white people because Negroes made up an overwhelmingly sizable part of the poor. Violence had evoked a fear in all Negroes, and resentment built up against the whites. King discusses how leaders have asked him to wait to take action, but he rejects this request by saying it is "difficult to wait". He simply refuses to sit back and watch his people being hurt and oppressed time after time. He claims that the white moderate is the group that is more devoted to discriminate blacks because they care more about order than justice. These moderates are complacent and would rather see no tension instead of the presence of justice. "Political leaders consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation". King feels that his theory is superior to those of the Muslims who advocate violence as a form of retaliation. He also looks unfavorably at the white Christian churches that have not lent a hand to help their black brothers in the Christian religion. Overall, he is trying to show how his way of nonviolent direct action is the best way to solve racial injustices against blacks.
             
              The argument of the letter is that direct action must be taken in specific ways for changes to be brought about. King says that nonviolent action can only be achieved by following four specific steps. The first step he says is to determine if there really are injustices being made towards a certain group. He shows these injustices with examples of violent acts against Negroes including police attacks, bombing of homes and churches, and lynching by mobs. He says that Negroes have been victims of discrimination in their inability to receive the benefits that their white counterparts receive. More have also been in poverty due to prejudices against them. He sees a flourishing, affluent society in which blacks are not allowed to play a role in. King knows that the Negroes are not free and in order for freedom to be gained it must "be demanded" because it "is simply not given". The second step in the process of starting a nonviolent movement is the attempt to negotiate with your oppressors. King spoke with white merchants in Birmingham and asked that racial signs be removed from store windows. These merchants promised to consent to his request, only to break their promise shortly after. With no actual change or response from white leaders, King knew that his negotiations had failed. He also felt that the best time to react to a problem is to act soon and not to wait. He said that "justice too long delayed is justice denied". He had to act as soon as possible. The third step is self-purification. He educated his fellow blacks in workshops to understand the injustices made against them. He asked them to withhold from any violence when attacked and to accept physical attacks and possibly jail. After these first three steps are realized, the fourth step of direct action must take place. The action that King led was a march in Birmingham for peace and justice. Negroes were violently assaulted by police and many, including King, were imprisoned. His argument is that these steps to direct action can result in changes. His cause took a national stage because of his march in Birmingham and white leaders were forced to confront this issue of discrimination and segregation. Blacks across the country came together to try to "channel" their discontent "through the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action". King also makes an argument against white Christian leaders. He says that his fellow brothers in the Christian religion simply turn their heads to the violence and injustice by saying that these issues are simply "social issues with which the Gospel has no concern". He argues that this is wrong and black Christians need help from these clergymen. He begs that they can meet and work out these indifferences together for the better of society.
             
              Key Terms from this article include those mentioned above. The terms of nonviolence, negotiation, self-purification were described in discussion of King's steps towards nonviolent action. The term "wait" was used frequently in the letter. King argued that waiting to take action would not be effective, but rather acting directly and quickly would bring about change. King knew that freedom would not simply be given; it had to be earned. King also used a key concept of comparing blacks and whites as having "nobodiness" versus "somebodiness". Society makes blacks to feel that they are nobody compared to whites, and King fights for blacks to realize that they are somebody and are important and so should fight for the rights and freedoms that were held from them. King also describes groups that oppress blacks, and says that more than the Ku Klux Klan and white citizens, the white moderate creates the most problems. He feels that the moderate act as if they can decide another man's human rights and freedom. These moderates see the goals that King is trying to achieve but feel that they shouldn't act to make changes. King says he would rather have absolute misunderstanding and hatred from his oppressors than understanding with no intent to make changes. He also discusses the racial slurs used against blacks and how these terms of "nigger" and "boy" add to blacks' resentment and nonviolent retaliation.
             
              Like Gandhi, King preached nonviolent resistance to oppression. I think that he was successful in his nonviolent attempts. He showed that Negroes were not the "animals" that whites used to perceive them as. By his ability to keep his community calm in stressful and hard times, he was able to show that blacks deserved to be part of the civilized and cultured society in which they lived. I think if King hadn't preached this theory, members of the Muslim community and groups like the Black Panthers would have continued to be violent against violent whites and there would never be desegregation and equality. His reasoning of peace and respect for all people was eventually incorporated into our society. By his work for a peaceful and resistant black civil rights' movement, his wishes that his children grow up in a country filled with equality and freedom were fulfilled. I also think that if King were alive today to witness the recent events at the World Trade Center, he would again preach nonviolence for the American people. He would be saddened to see our government retaliate with violence. I don't think the United States would be able to follow his four steps of nonviolence. We have achieved the first two steps of recognizing the direct injustice against us, and we have attempted to negotiate with the leaders of the Taliban. I think our country would not be able to reach the step of self-purification. As the ultimate power in the world, the U. S. would not be able to simply accept blows against our government, freedom and liberty. I think it would be hard to solve this terrorism today with nonviolence tactics only. I think this because it is an international, political, and economical issue rather than a social injustice against a minority.
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